Fleas can be one’s worst nightmare. Those wingless, tiny brown blood-sucking parasites can be harmful to both your pet and your family. Fleas are known to infest their hosts with various diseases. If not treated correctly, they can even cause anemia to your pets. It is therefore important to know how to control flea infestation.
Fleas and your Environment
Looking for adult fleas in your pet’s fur may be a daunting task. The life cycle of fleas would indicate that only 5% of the fleas’ total population are adult fleas. Adult fleas are those wingless brown creatures with a hard shell. A higher percent of the population are actually eggs and larvae which can be found around your house. To have actual flea control, you must be able to identify the areas where there are eggs and larvae.
Flea eggs are so small that they are barely visible to our naked eyes. They are commonly found with flea droppings as the droppings provide the food to the larvae once the eggs hatch. Flea eggs and larvae have a resemblance to salt and pepper. Temperature and humidity affects the number of flea larvae that hatches from the eggs. Lower temperature would indicate fewer larvae. Once they hatch, the larvae would avoid light. Therefore, they are commonly found in buried in carpet fibres, under the furnitures, and wall and cabinet crevices. Aside from the flea droppings, the larvae would feed on food debris and dead skin.
Fleas and your Pets
Flea control can vary between your pets. Remember that flea control for cats is different from flea control for dogs. For example, flea collars offer flea and tick control. However, cat flea collars are different from dog flea collars. There are some ingredients that can be harmful for cats but effective for dogs.
You need to learn how to spot fleas on your pets in order to address it properly. For example, dog flea inspection requires turning her onto her back and checking the areas where fleas are likely to hide. Areas like the armpits and groin are preferred flea spots. The ears must also be checked for scratching and redness. Certain areas with hair loss due to scratching are also indicative of flea infestation.
For cats, you can check their fur for any flea droppings. There may be small areas or several areas with dark specks. Try running a flea comb over it and see if it turns to dark red if wet. This will indicate the blood sucked by the fleas.
Types of Flea Control
There are different flea controls you can get in the market. The most common are the following:
a. Flea Collars: These are used as secondary collars that are infused by pesticides that can treat and repel fleas. Unfortunately, flea collars are just focused on your pet’s neck area.
b. Shampoos: These are special pet care shampoo that contain pesticides to get rid of fleas
c. Flea combs: Flea combs are a special type of comb where the teeth are closely set. It is designs to catch and pull out the fleas from your pet’s hair. Get the comb as close as possible to their skin to pull the hiding fleas. You can also place paper towel next to your dog to spot the flea droppings and eggs that will fall from your pet’s skin.
d. Oral Preventives: One of the best flea control for dogs is the program flea control. It is an oral medication that is administered monthly to your dog. It has an active ingredient that sterilizes the adult flea. Once sterilized, the adult flea is prevented from having any offspring. It does not kill the adult flea but prevents infestation brought by its eggs. The adult flea is exposed to Program by biting into the dog’s skin. Just be sure your dog is not highly allergic to flea bites.
e. Natural Flea Control: One of the natural flea controls for dogs is having a lemon rinse. Slice one whole lemon then drop everything in a pint of very hot water. Let it steep overnight then strain. You can sponge the rinse to your pet’s skin. Do not towel; let it air-dry for the citrus odor to stick. This repels fleas so you can do this whenever you bathe your pet (even daily!).
DIY Flea Control
Keeping your environment clean is important for flea control. You can do frequent vacuuming around your house. Focus vacuuming on your soft furnishings, crevices, and gaps between mouldings. You can place a mothball or flea collar in your dust bag. Just dispose of your dust bags properly to avoid the fleas from returning to your house.
A crucial cat flea control is washing their bedding and blankets regularly. Flea eggs and droppings tend to drop on these beddings. Washing gets rid of the eggs and also the larvae that may be hiding. Make sure to use hot water and dry them on high heat.
Aside from cleaning the inside of your house, pay attention to your yard. Fleas can also multiply in tall grasses so keep your lawn mown at all times and remove any brush piles.
Flea control can appear to be a lot of work but it can be healthy both for your pet and your family. If in doubt, you can always check with your veterinarian on how to treat fleas on your pets.